Leading archaeologist and Jewish Studies scholar to lead new CNU program

by | Mar 22, 2019 | Uncategorized

Dr. Richard Freund

Bertram and Gladys Aaron Endowed Professorship in Jewish Studies

Dr. Richard Freund, a prominent archaeologist, historian, and explorer, has been appointed to a new position at Christopher Newport University where he will lead Judaic Studies and build strong ties with the Jewish community throughout the nation.

Freund is the inaugural holder of the Bertram and Gladys Aaron Endowed Professorship in Jewish Studies. He currently serves as the director of the Maurice Greenberg Center for Judaic Studies and Greenberg Professor of Jewish History at the University of Hartford.

“This is a landmark day in the history of Christopher Newport University,” says President Paul Trible, CNU president. “Dr. Freund personifies what we expect of our students, that they lead, serve, engage, and set the world on fire. He has done all of that with national and international impact. We are proud that Dr. Freund is joining us and grateful to Bert’ and Gladys Aaron for their generosity in making this appointment possible.”

“Richard Freund was precisely the type of teacher and scholar we had in mind when we established the professorship,” says Bert’ Aaron. “He will serve the University superbly and bring energy, insight, and a spirit of engagement to the Jewish and other communities across the Hampton Roads.”

Freund is perhaps best known for leading an international group of archaeologists, scientists, and historians as they searched for the lost city of Atlantis, a sophisticated and extensive expedition captured by the National Geographic Channel’s documentary Atlantis Rising. Freund’s team discovered six stone anchors in southern Spain that could date back to the Bronze Age.

Other highlights of Freund’s career include:

  • Building an extensive Judaic Studies program at the University of Hartford that included lectureships, concerts, study abroad archaeology programs, and a Museum of Jewish Civilization.
  • Discovering a Holocaust escape tunnel featured on the documentary series Nova, one of his 15 appearances in television documentaries.
  • Leading multiple archaeological projects in Israel and Europe and a research project at the extermination camp at Sobibor, Poland.
  • Locating the exact burial site of Matilda Olkin who was executed by Nazi collaborators. Poetry by the young Jewish woman, often called the Anne Frank of Lithuania, described Nazis closing in on her village.

“I am honored by this appointment and eager to meet the students and join the faculty at Christopher Newport,” Freund says. “My goal is to expand the reach of Judaic Studies offerings within the University and the community at large. The Bertram and Gladys Aaron professorship is unique in that it calls me to provide outreach to the region’s dynamic Jewish community, while promoting a vibrant and active intellectual and Jewish religious and social life on campus.”